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Intolerance is not Indianness

Intolerance is not Indianness
Highlights

Ever since the professed Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi assumed office, there have been growing levels of intolerance. People are incarcerated and killed, not just for their beliefs but even for what they eat.

Ever since the professed Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi assumed office, there have been growing levels of intolerance. People are incarcerated and killed, not just for their beliefs but even for what they eat.

Cultural shows, book release functions and what not, everything is subjected to thought policing. Rationalists are killed for staying committed to their ideas. Dissent, rationality and diversity are attacked.

The idea of pluralistic India is under siege. Perturbed by intolerance and stifling of freedom of expression, scores of Sahitya Akademi award winners are returning their awards in protest.

These developments not only tear apart the democratic and secular social fabric of India, but even pose a serious threat to Hindu religion and the concept of Indianness.

Hinduism survived over the ages despite alien invasion only due to its assimilative character. Noted Historian Sarvepalli Gopal called Hinduism a religion without circumference and as a way of life rather than a religion.

Even an atheist can also be a Hindu. Upanishads say “let the noble thoughts come to us from every side.” Nothing else can be more accommodative and universal than this wisdom.

“There are as many paths to God as there are faiths” These pearls of wisdom from Sri Ramakrishna would form a befitting response to religious bigotry.

Swami Vivekananda , arguably the greatest spiritual scholar of all times, calls religious intolerance irreligious. He says, “Never quarrel about religion. All quarrels and disputes concerning religion simply show that spirituality is not present.

“ Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s authority on Hindu philosophy cannot be questioned . His description of Hindu faith should serve as a beacon of light when the obscurantist spread their darkness of hate in the name of serving religious cause.

“Hinduism is not just a faith. It is the union of reason and intuition that cannot be defined but is only to be experienced. Hinduism has come to be a tapestry of the most variegated tissues and almost endless diversity of hues.

Hinduism is not a definite dogmatic creed. Hinduism is not bound up with a creed or a book, a prophet or a founder.” It is this most liberal view of Hinduism which is under attack from the politico-religious hysteria.

From the time of the Rig Veda till today, India has been the home of different religions and the Indian genius adopted a policy of live and let live towards them. Thus the growing intolerance is certainly not the Indianness.

Lord Krishna reveals in The Bhagavad Gita, “He who has let go of hatred, who treats all beings with kindness and compassion, who is always serene, … that is the man I love best.”

Should we still promote hatred , disturb tranquility for supremacy of faith, lose compassion in the name of religion and incur the wrath of God?

The Constitution of India is the holy book for Indians of all faiths. According to the Article 25, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.

None can challenge this. None should endanger this. A true Indian is one who firmly abides by this in letter and spirit.

Editor: Prof K Nageshwar

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